Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, 8 March 2017: This year as we lean in and support the global celebrations of International Women’s Day, we are excited to announce the launch of our new Gender Equity in Eye Health course.
Gender equity is a central strategy of our global programs and the introduction of gender-based innovations through our programs has provided identifiable outcomes at the local level. We believe increasing these initiatives in a scalable approach, directly targeting marginalised members of communities, is the key to improving eye health outcomes for women.
This premise is exactly why we are excited about being able to deliver our Gender Equity in Eye Health course to the eye health sector in Papua New Guinea (PNG) today – especially on this global day committed to speeding up the clock towards gender parity. The blended course will move on to Pakistan once completed in PNG.
This goal of this blended course is to enable eye care professionals to deliver gender appropriate services that are informed and tailored to address the specific barriers to achieving gender equity in eye health programming. While also being locally focused on improving the eye health outcomes of women and girls in each specific location, this course is relevant to drive broader sustainable development programming.
Meet the women behind this course.
Sumrana Yasmin has been a remarkable agent of change for eye care access in Pakistan and the South East Asia and Eastern Mediterranean region, where she is our Regional Director. In a relatively short period of time she has worked across the spectrum – advocacy, policy, program design, implementation, research and education – to improve eye care outcomes. Sumrana has made significant inroads into ensuring services are available for women and girls, working strategically and creatively to overcome barriers that result in gender inequality, poor vision and limited economic opportunities.
“As a woman from Pakistan, I understand how challenging it can be for women when it comes to accessing basic human rights such as health and education. We constitute 51% of the total population half of which resides in rural areas. Barriers are mostly due to the prevalent cultural practices, illiteracy and poor economic conditions. We know nearly two-thirds of people with blindness and vision impairment in the world are women – so there is much that needs to be done,” said Sumrana.
Judith Stern is our Global Manager for Learning and Teaching and she provides leadership in the global development of eye care courses and educational resources. Judith has been central to the development and delivery of the Institute’s education programs for the last 10 years, with a focus on ensuring education programs are learner centred, locally relevant and of a global standard. She has a special interest in gender equity and education programs that develop leadership skills in the eye health sector.
Dr Jambi Garap, Papua New Guinea’s dynamic President of National Prevention of Blindness Committee and head of the board for PNG Eye Care, a local NGO committed to increasing access to eye health care and accessibility of spectacles. She is an ophthalmologist who has been a pioneer in tackling health and social barriers, and a relentless advocate within the government and health sector in developing sustainable eye care systems within PNG.
Dr Garap is also a strong advocate for gender equity to be part of all eye care programs in the pacific region and her story is being featured as part the Gender Equity in Eye Health course ‘stories of success.’
We thank our support team here in Sydney and on the ground in PNG for making the launch of this course possible today, particularly Drew Keys, Samuel Koim and Alison Campion.
Our aim is to enable, empower and encourage an unlimited increase in stories of success for women globally, through provision of equal access to eye health services, education and related opportunities.